We are 50,000 members in 260 diverse congregations representing many ethnic backgrounds. View clip (windows media, quicktime, realmedia) of Dwight Stinnett's discussion of the culture and history of the GRR and why it is helpful for better understanding of your church.
Our name reflects the great Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers that flow along and through the land that John Mason Peck was called to more than a century ago (notice his picture in the logo in the top left corner of our masthead). God used this man to plant many churches throughout these two states. While planting these churches, Peck worked with, taught, challenged, and encouraged those who were also called to proclaim and teach the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ, and carry out ministry and mission in Christ's name.. These became pastors who continued the work.
Today, American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region is even a stronger resource - and growing stronger in the Lord each day - for challenging, empowering, assisting and representing the American Baptist faith communities in Illinois (excluding Cook, DuPage and Lake counties) and Missouri as we live out our ministry together.
What do we see God having us accomplish as churches of the Great Rivers Region? What could you be part of if God is leading you to serve in this region?
Dwight Stinnett discusses GRR Goals (windows media, quicktime, realmedia). This and the following clip are part of his presentation to professional church leaders new to the GRR on September 16, 2003 at the GRR Resource Center.
The GRR is structured to serve! Learn how the American Baptist Churches of the GRR have re-organized to facilitate discernment and implementation of God's vision for us.
American Baptist Churches USA exists as a denomination to offer its 5,800 churches a sense of family and to provide resources to support them in life-changing ministries undertaken in the name of Jesus Christ. The local church is the fundamental unit of mission within denominational life, and our priority. American Baptist leaders have noted that our priority, "is to affirm, support and challenge congregations as they live out their mission."
The American Baptist Mission Center in Valley Forge, PA is a national resource for all congregations. Like the Regional Offices that serve their churches, the Valley Forge offices are home to staffs and programs committed to enabling effective congregational mission and cooperative ministry.
Gathering Together In Christ's Name: Embracing An Inclusive, Growing Family
As the most racially diverse denomination in Protestantism, the American Baptist Churches USA has seen an historic commitment to inclusiveness manifest itself in the makeup of its churches and their members. Some of the most significant growth within our family in recent years has been witnessed in our African American, Hispanic, Native American, Haitian, Portuguese and Asian American congregations. Within the next decade there will likely be no single majority racial or ethnic group within our denomination. The breadth of our denominational household can in part be attributed to our longstanding commitment to offer fellowship and support to all people. In many other areas, too, we are a diverse people: geographically, theologically and vocationally.
American Baptists continue a great religious tradition that has promoted local church autonomy, separation of church from state influence, and religious freedom. Interdependence -- congregations doing ministry together -- also is an American Baptist hallmark. Within the denominational household, the cooperative efforts of churches, regions, national and international agencies have produced great accomplishments in the name of Christ.